These two words have pervasively infiltrated my life in the past week or so. After the realisation I discovered while in America about my desire to help others stemming from an internal fear of not being enough, I’ve found this feeling to be the root of angst within other realms of my life. And in today’s society, I’m really not sure it’s a feeling any of us can truly escape.
I fully acknowledge, especially given the content of one of my former posts, that this feeling of not being enough stems entirely from one’s ego. And the simplest solution is to merely become conscious, to become aware that this is what I’m feeling. But something about the simplicity of this solution doesn’t seem possible, because maybe, just maybe, there’s actually something deeper to this.
Everything in our world is tailored towards the fact that many of us feel like we aren’t enough. Every time I jump on Facebook, I’m bombarded with this overwhelming sense that who I am, what I’m doing, where I’m going; none of it feels enough. And I know I can’t be the only one that is experiencing this, because all of us are being exposed to the same information. We’re all being exposed to the highlight reels of friends’ lives, or to advertisements about self-growth or courses that we should take, or to articles about how terrible the world is which then serves to create fear and polarise people.
Advertisers prey on our insecurities. They prey on the fact that almost all of us feel like we aren’t enough. That’s why self-help books sell. That’s why so many people who are motivational speakers, life coaches, or business specialists are all making a living – because they know you don’t feel like you’re enough. And they know that they can convince you to take their course, even if it costs thousands of dollars as many of them do. How much do you value your freedom? They might query. And if you can’t afford the $10,000 to take their course, well then you just feel like shit because you must not value yourself very much.
The other overwhelming factor is, how do you even know which course to take? Or which book to read? There are literally SO many of them. How can you then be sure that the one you’ve chosen is going to be the best one for you? Well, you don’t. And simple psychology will tell you that the more options you have, the less satisfied you’ll be with whatever decision you make. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a thing purely for this reason – it operates on the premise that no matter what decision you make, you’ll be missing out on an experience elsewhere with someone else. And how do you know that? Well because you’re constantly exposed to it. On Facebook, on Snapchat, on the news, in books; everywhere.
Honestly, I’m just tired of being exposed to information that is created to purely reinforce the feeling that I’m not enough. Or to information that is created because it plays on the ego’s need for drama and fear. I’m tired of being manipulated. I’m tired of being subconsciously controlled into how to feel. And that’s all advertisement and technology serve to do; manipulate you.
I fully acknowledge that this feeling of not being enough is my own issue and an issue that is rooted in my childhood and probably in my younger self’s inability to accept that being gay was okay (because every message in society communicated to me that it wasn’t). But I also know that investing in any of these courses or books is not going to resolve this deep-rooted belief that I have and have had for probably over 10 years. Nor are any affirmations I tell myself daily. Because if anything, it’s just going to reinforce my need to take another course, and another course, and another one, and in essence, serve only to reinforce the feeling that I am not enough right now. Because that’s what these courses, businesses, and books are communicating to you subconsciously. And that’s why people invest in them.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally an advocate for self-growth. But at what cost? We’re now constantly trying to get somewhere, or being told where we need to go, or being reminded that where we are isn’t enough. What ever happened to just being? We’ve become human doings rather than human beings. Human doings with an incessant need to be somewhere else, to learn something more, to be someone more.
The other week, a friend of mine suggested I become a motivational speaker. And I genuinely considered it. Until I thought about how much information is already out there, how many people are getting into life coaching, healthy eating mentoring, becoming a personal trainer, and so the word motivational speaker almost disgusted me. I don’t want to tell anyone what to do; they already get way too much of that from society. If anything, I want to help people return to who they were before they were conditioned to feel and think and behave in certain ways from technology and society. I want to help people to just be. How can I do that? By presenting myself in the most humanly human way as possible; by exposing my flaws, by being vulnerable, and by committing myself to sharing my story, all of it, in a way that is so raw and real, it’s relatable.
I had to get rid of Instagram last year because it genuinely made me feel like fucking shit any time I was on it. I would see images of my teammates and the lives they were living or the body that they have, and it would make me feel miserable. It would make me question why I didn’t look like that. Why I wasn’t in the gym instead of on my phone looking at their pictures. But instead of serving as motivation, it served as a deterrent. It made me feel like drowning my sorrows in a container full of Nutella.
I questioned whether or not I needed to sit there and process these uncomfortable feelings or whether the best course of action was to just remove the triggers from my life. And some may believe that I need to do the former, to work through those negative emotions, but I disagree. And I disagree because technology has increased at a rate that evolution cannot keep up with. Our brain does not possess the defence mechanisms necessary to prohibit us from digesting this information subconsciously. We process 80% of information subconsciously, which means consciously or not, we are constantly comparing ourselves to the lives of others so long as we are being exposed to that information.
My solution? Eradicate exposure. Facebook, the news, technology – it’s all just emotional torture. I’m sorry that I can’t get on Facebook and be happy for the information I see, because I know it’s all bullshit. It’s not reality. It’s fake. And I believe it serves no other purpose than to make oneself feel better and consequently, it probably makes others feel like shit. Because the reality is, there are few people out there who genuinely feel like they are enough. And those that do, probably aren’t on Facebook. I remember reading in a Womankind magazine the following question, “If people couldn’t tell anyone that they hiked Mt Everest, would they still choose to hike Mt Everest?” If people couldn’t share their experiences, what feelings would they then be confronted with?
We live for the screen and through the screen. So much so that we no longer know how to entertain ourselves when we don’t have a technological distraction nearby. We’ve been conditioned to have short attention spans (ADD and ADHD diagnoses are increasing rapidly); our brains and their creative components are atrophying because they’re not being used. Despite being more connected, we feel more alone. And so I’m going to attempt to decondition myself from what I’ve been conditioned to feel and think over the years.
I went to the Australian Post Office the other day to purchase a street directory (which they no longer sell) and the lady almost laughed at me as though I was born 500 years ago. How many of us can remember directions to a location the first time we go there? Probably very few because we just use our GPS; our GPS does our thinking and our remembering, so why would I need to use that area of my brain?
Because of all of this, I’m forcing myself to go on a technological detox. No Facebook. No Snapchat. No GPS. And very limited phone use. I’ll have access to my email once a day and to Skype, and obviously to written letters too. But I don’t believe I need to learn how to process these negative emotions because I truly don’t think we can unless we’ve reached a point where we’ve dealt with our primary fears and those insecurities of not feeling like we’re enough. Our society has changed so much because of technology yet few of us are questioning the effects it’s having on our brain and overall wellbeing. We’ve just accepted these technological advancements as the world in which we live and conformed unconsciously rather than intentionally creating a life for ourselves that is both rich and fulfilling.
So before you buy whatever it is you feel compelled to buy, ask yourself why. Are you buying this because you’re genuinely interested in what the speaker or author or company has to share? Or because you feel like you’re not enough and their talk, course, book, or business might provide the answer? I’m tired of being manipulated. I’m tired of being told what to do. And I’m tired of living in such a success-driven world. As I mentioned before, my intention is to come across as humanly human as possible. I want people to be able to relate to what I’m saying. I want to talk about the things that we all feel, but we don’t talk about because we don’t feel like we can. I don’t want to tell people what to do. I just want to help people to be. To accept themselves and to know that they aren’t the only ones that feel the way they are feeling. I’m not here to sell anything, to motivate anyone, or tell anyone how to live their life, I’m just here to share my story.